New Mercedes CLS (2018): everything you need to know

Published: 17 January 2018

New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS
Unveiled in full in Los Angeles
AMG model also going on sale

Mercedes has unveiled a new, updated, CLS and it marks quite a change from the previous model. From the outside at least, the new CLS sports a cleaner design language, which Mercedes is calling ‘Sensual Purity.’ Either way, the new saloon looks and feels like a premium take on the already impressive E-Class, and that can only be a good thing.

But just how much will the new CLS cost, what can we expect in the way of interior tech, and what engines will be available? We’ve gathered together everything we know about the 2018 Mercedes CLS right here.

Mercedes-Benz CLS: world debut at the 2017 LA Auto Show

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: price

The new Mercedes CLS will start from £57,510 for the CLS 350d 4MATIC AMG Line, and will rise to £60,410 if you want the CLS 400d 4MATIC AMG Line. Both the 350d and 400d will use an in-line six cylinder diesel, and they’ll be able to hit 0-62mph in around 5 seconds. What’s more, Mercedes claims both cars will deliver just under 50mpg, too.

The CLS 450 4MATIC AMG Line is the third and final trim for the new CLS right now, and starts at £57,610. Featuring a brand new 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder biturbo petrol engine, the 450 also packs in Mercedes’ EQ boost hybrid technology.

Mercedes CLS: prices from £57,510 in the UK

That means petrol-engined CLS has an output of 362bhp, but that’s then combined with 22bhp of boost from the EQ hybrid system, resulting in a 0-62mph time of just 4.8 seconds. As you’d expect, the 450 is a bit less economical than the other models, and has a combined mpg of 36.2. All trims will come with Mercedes’ 4MATIC system as standard, too.

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: what about an AMG version? 

As you’d expect, Mercedes has also unveiled a more aggressive AMG version of the CLS, and it certainly looks the part. Announced at the 2018 Detroit motor show, the all-new CLS 53 features some seriously impressive specs, and you can read more about it here. 

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: interior tech

The new CLS is only available in AMG Line trim right now, but that means you get a good amount of interior gadgets and technology as standard. For example, every CLS will feature a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, an additional 12.3-inch cockpit display, ambient lighting, parking sensors and a reversing camera.

If that’s not enough tech, an optional £3895 Premium Plus package adds other features such as keyless entry, a sliding sunroof and a bespoke Burmester surround sound system.


Predictably, a wide range of further gadgets and technology is available. Wireless charging will top up your devices, In-Car-Office will sync with your work calendar to enable conference calls and navigation to your next meeting, and the touchpad now offers haptic feedback – buzzing and vibrating to confirm selections.

You’ll already be familiar with the giant twin 12.3-inch digital screens that now make up the instruments in a growing number of Mercedes-Benzes. They let you configure the dials as you wish, providing hours of set-up fun.

Illuminated air vents are also set to spread across the range (they briefly glow red or blue when you adjust the temperature, to signify changes in climate control). Ambient lighting is also offered on the 2018 CLS, letting you (or more likely your children) flick between 64 colours in which to bathe the interior, ranging from garish vodka bar to Tory HQ.

Meanwhile, the optional Energising Comfort Control system syncs the air-con, perfumery (yes, really), heating and lighting onboard to let punters pick from Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort and the work-out Training mode. A personal trainer while sitting down driving? Merc thinks so…

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: design

This is a properly new model – a seismic shift in Daimler terms. Codenamed C257, it’s based on the latest Daimler group MRA engineering architecture, rather than a mere refresh of an old platform. But you guessed that much from the first official pictures, rightdes?

The new photos released at the LA motor show present a different look and feel, for sure. It’s the latest iteration of Merc’s new ‘Sensual Purity’ design language, an attempt to give all new models a family look characterised by simpler form language, strong graphical anchor points and a cleaner surface treatment.


Is it as eye-catching as the Mk1 CLS from 2003? Probably not, if we’re being honest. But this is a striking design; think slinkier Mercedes E-class and you’re bang on the money. Just do away with some of the original’s banana stylistics, the gangster swagger. It’s a slippery shape, too: Merc quotes a drag coefficient of 0.26, to boost economy, emissions and quiet hush at a cruise.

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: engines, specs and details…

The oily bits underpinning the new CLS are shared with the E-class (’twas ever thus, remember). That means a default rear-wheel drive platform dubbed MRA, with the option of all-wheel drive on many model variants. This is the first five-seater CLS, with a new additional pew between two rear armchairs.

Starter engines at launch will be Mercedes’ latest inline family of straight six engines – two diesels and one range-topping petrol. News of the early demise of oil-burners has been greatly exaggerated, don’t you know. 


The launch range looks like this:

  • CLS 350d 4Matic 2925cc straight six turbodiesel, 282bhp, 443lb ft, 50.4mpg combined economy, 148g/km CO2, 5.7sec 0-62mph
  • CLS 400d 4Matic 2925cc straight six turbodiesel, 335bhp, 516lb ft, 50.4mpg combined economy, 148g/km CO2, 5.0sec 0-62mph
  • CLS 450 4Matic 2999cc straight six petrol, 362bhp, 369lb ft, 37.7mpg combined economy, 178g/km CO2, 4.8sec 0-62mph

The diesel pair uses the same inline six-cylinder engine, tuned to varying degrees; the CLS 450 is the first model to debut the straight six petrol engine with what Daimler calls EQ Boost – an additional electric starter generator motor driven by the new 48-volt electrical system, which harnesses energy under deceleration to provide up to 184lb ft of additional torque to drive the car under full acceleration or while coasting throttle-off. It’s said to offer eight-cylinder performance for six-pot penalty.

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: how will it drive?

This is familiar E-class territory underneath, so we can probably predict with a high degree of certainty that the new CLS will be a comfort-oriented, high-tech drive. This is a good thing; we like the latest E – with its range of sensible, eco applications in company car spec diesel trim or its funkier, AMG-tuned E63 performance derivatives. There will, over time, be a CLS for most tastes and budgets.


Air Body Control air suspension is an important option, offering drivers the chance to tweak the chassis settings to their choice of comfy float versus cast-iron body control. 

Of course, the new 2018 CLS range will also make a good fist of driving itself; the journey to semi-autonomy is well underway here. It’ll keep a set distance from the car in front, pull to a standstill in stop-start traffic and even slow down in anticipation of bends or speed limits ahead when in cruise control mode. 

If the worst comes to the worst, this car will bump you inwards if it anticipates a side collision and will even prepare your ears for the noise of an impact. Such is the onwards march of technological progress…

New 2018 Mercedes CLS: when can I buy it?

Sales kick off in December 2017, with right-hand drive deliveries due in April 2018. Continental buyers can pick a highly specced First Edition model, but this will not be offered in the UK.

Mercedes CLS 2018

It’ll even be surprisingly practical, according to Merc. The boot swallows 520 litres of luggage, and can be swollen by lowering the 40:20:40-split rear seats. Be sure to tell us what you think of the new 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-class in the comments below.

Read all our Mercedes reviews here

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet